Jeep has been on a tear with music in its commercials in recent years, and it pulled off a novel stunt for its latest ad soundtrack—picking a tune written by a contestant on NBC's reality show Songland for its new 90-second spot.
In a remarkable integration, Songland gave all of Wednesday night's episode over to challenging contestants to write a song specifically for a new Jeep spot. The winning track was titled "Young," written by songwriter Katelyn Tarver.
The episode was taped earlier this summer, which allowed Jeep to produce the spot in the weeks since then. The finished spot, featuring Tarver herself over a version of the song recorded by Nashville hitmakers Old Dominion, was released Wednesday night as well.
See it here:
"The opportunity to work with NBC and Songland showed us that we can rewrite the rules of traditional product placement in such a way that we achieve an unprecedented level of authenticity and consumer engagement," Olivier Francois, chief marketing officer at Jeep parent Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, said in a statement. "The Songland episode acted as a one-hour conversation where the Jeep brand's ethos is dissected and explored in front of a massive television audience."
"Old Dominion are some of the most talented writers in music right now, so to have them like my song enough to choose to record and release it is a huge honor," added Tarver. "Then, to have it not only featured in a Jeep commercial, but for me to get to be in that commercial too, is just beyond. This whole experience has been a blast and I'm so excited for people to hear 'Young' and hopefully love it as much as we do."
Tarver isn't a complete unknown. She's released several album and singles, and is also an actress, with credits including roles on Nickelodeon's Big Time Rush and ABC's No Ordinary Family.
"Working with Old Dominion, [producer] Shane McAnally and songwriter Katelyn Tarver to record a song that speaks as a love letter to Jeep brand's attributes of freedom, adventure and Americana, and share it with viewers, gave us an incredible extension to the initiative," said Francois.
"We loved partnering with Jeep on a marketing and music first that allowed the brand to be the principal element of the storytelling for Songland," said Mark Marshall, president of advertising sales and partnerships at NBCUniversal.
Jeep had worked before with one of Songland's producer-mentors, Ryan Tedder, the lead singer of OneRepublic. That band and its hit song connection were featured in Jeep's popular 2018 summer campaign.
The automaker and OneRepublic also had a big hit online around the time of the Super Bowl with their music-led, digital-only spot "More Than Just Words," featuring a visual narration of the "The Star Spangled Banner." That ad got more than 110 million views.